The Cobourg Cougars had last weekend off after sweeping the first round of the playoffs. According to a QMI Agency report, "approximately 10 members" of the Ontario Junior Hockey League club attended a party where several women were allegedly sexually assaulted, which has prompted a major Ontario Provincial Police investigation.
The disturbing details include social media postings that used misogynistic, demeaning language and evoked rape culture, using a hashtag #consentisoverrated.
From Pete Fisher:
A number of postings are on social media including one of a trophy that appears similar to the Stanley Cup with the plaque reading "Cobourg Cougars Classic" and the statement below it reading "Whoever hooked up with the most broads last night gets the cup" and the hashtag #consentisoverrated.
"We are tracking social media. We are on top of that," Acting Sgt. Kelly Daniels said.
Due to the young age of some of the persons allegedly involved and the sensitive nature of the allegations under investigation, further information will only be provided at the completion of a thorough investigation, the OPP said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.
"This could be a far-reaching investigation," Daniels said.
Shortly after 2 a.m. a number of people were asked to leave, but only certain women were allowed to stay, said one person who attended the party.
"I was shocked," the person said. "But once I heard the story, how they kicked all the guys out of the party near the end of the party I thought that was kind of weird." (QMI Agency)
This also comes on the heels of news that four members of last season's Gatineau Olympiques have been named in a sexual assault complaint..
It could be many weeks, or months, for the OPP to complete that investigation and decide whether charges are warranted. Nothing has been proven, of course.
Cobourg is slated to face the Trenton Golden Hawks in a second-round playoff series. No schedule has been posted, although the other series in their conference begins on Friday. It's believed the Cobourg-Trenton series will also start Friday.
Cougars general manager Brent Tully released a statement on Wednesday morning:
As you know, it has always been our practice to stay close in touch with our friends at our local supportive media outlets. As you also know, the Cobourg Cougars are very proud of our longstanding reputation in the community and we work hard to support our entire team from players to staff to billets and fans. When allegations of any nature are made, we take them all very seriously. In this case, none of the allegations made have been proven, nor has the hockey club been contacted with regards to any investigation. In the event that this changes, we will participate fully and are committed to doing so. In the meantime, we have used this as an opportunity to remind our players about respect and appropriate behaviours. (via Extra Peterborough 90.5 FM)
It also bears noting that whatever happened has come in a changing climate when it comes to trying to end sexual violence. Ontario's Liberal government, last week, launched a comprehensive campaign aimed at sexual violence, highlighting that only 3.3 per cent of sexual assaults in Canada reported to police and only 0.3% result in a criminal conviction. Part of the Ontario government's plan involves offering more support to complainants.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.